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Animated Grass beta


Dragofer
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Video pleaaaase! I'm also curious to see a performance assessment. Fingers crossed this makes it in time for 2.11 so the new version benefits from having it integrated, which will obviously mean more maps using it may happen sooner.

Makes me wish we had a wind system similar to Red Eclipse, where wind can be an entity affecting all particles and plants with compatible procedural deformations. That's another story of course, good to be happy for what we have now 😊

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Yes, but Arcturus misunderstood how the system worked so he found out that the grass demo was rendering wrong unless you set LOD settings to highest ( basically off ).

Tels and Arcturus were going to work together to improve the demo but Arcturus got busy with stuff and never returned to it.

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9 hours ago, chakkman said:

Yeah. Please. :)

Yep, would sure be cool to see authors share what it looks like in action in their WIP.

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The old videos don't really apply because kingsal had to create new animations and rigs due to modelling app incompatibilities and a lack of source files. Not to mention he also added more variety in shape and appearance.

(My previous comment was also a nudge-nudge-wink-wink kind of thing to FM authors with suitable WIPs).

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It is wonderful that is works "fast enough" without any specific systems and optimizations!

Two things though:

  1. I guess if someone wants to show this with a video, he should upload custom-made video to cloud drive and post a link. Moving grass is high frequency thing, youtube compression breaks it so hard!
  2. The latest video has all grass patches located in a regular grid and with same orientation, and this looks artificlal. Maybe SEED or custom script should be used to spawn these entities in random distribution? Actually, some low-discrepancy random positioning with simply random rotation should be the best...
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The old grass demo is irrelevant here. I've completey remade these from the ground up so they are usable by authors. The old demo is one giant custom mesh specific to that demo. 

Anyways- ill post a video this weekend but as Dragofer mentioned we're really looking for authors to try them out and collect feedback about how usable they are. 

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I should also mention that I do love that old demo, not trying to knock it. But its pretty tough to make animated grass conform to the terrain like that without using a 3D tool like blender, max, maya, ect.

Im also curious if these will work with our SEED system? SEED might only work with static meshes :( 

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8 minutes ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

The larger patches look great, especially at a distance, but they don't hold up as well close up. Part of that is a given with billboard alpha, but iirc in the original test map the large tufts have a sort of dense ground cover that pops in at a very low distance, but this kind of fleshes out the tufts when you're standing right in the middle of them, which I imagine as a sneaky thief you're likely to be.

Thanks for the notes!

Yeah that might be a bug actually. So you are standing in the middle of a patch and cards are disappearing? That shouldnt happen. Would you be able to show an example of this? 

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@kingsalNo nothing disappears at close range. It is just when you are standing in the middle of the dense grass patches the fact that they are cards becomes very apparent and the illusion of density is lost.

As I mentioned this is quite difficult to get to hold up under that kind of scrutiny, but one thing from the original demo is that denser ground cover that is shorter in height would pop in very very near the player so when you are looking at a lower angle down into the grass it kind of fills in these gaps a bit.

Don't know if that can even apply here - the original demo is a massive sea of grass so that near camera pop in was completely hidden where as these need to be a bit more flexible.

 

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2 hours ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

@kingsalNo nothing disappears at close range. It is just when you are standing in the middle of the dense grass patches the fact that they are cards becomes very apparent and the illusion of density is lost.

 

Ah right, yeah I see so maybe an additional layer of smaller ground cover grasses. I want to be careful adding too many alpha cards but maybe we can afford a few more up close. Thanks!

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I think the grass movement in the original grass demo was more generic, and as such didn't attract that much attention (which is good). In the examples above you can see the whole card is bent, and it's pretty evident that all blades of grass are bending in the same direction. That effect might be useful though, if you want to simulate the grass reacting to a character going through it.

Edited by peter_spy
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8 hours ago, kingsal said:

Ah right, yeah I see so maybe an additional layer of smaller ground cover grasses. I want to be careful adding too many alpha cards but maybe we can afford a few more up close. Thanks!

This video shows that patches are too regular in one direction.
That's exactly what I mean by saying that good randomization is very important, otherwise people can see patterns under some conditions.

SEED is a huge piece of code trying to do everything.
With animated geometry, make sure to not use its geometry merging. If there is a mode to only use entity spawning, that can be used. If not... maybe write a script.
Ideally, mapper can specify grass location with a thin box, and the script should raycast this box against terrain. Exactly like projected decals work. Not sure if scripts can see brushes though...

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I've tried using SEED to automatically clone and distribute a model across a large terrain patch, but the performance was single-digits, probably a lot worse than if the same number of models had been hand placed. It also didnt seem to respect the spawnarg to floor the models along the patch and created too many models, but that might be inexperience in handling it.

Regarding the close-ups of the grass, I think Arcturus' map just had a much higher density of alpha cards. Mappers might be able to achieve that look by closely overlapping each grass model.

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39 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

This video shows that patches are too regular in one direction.
That's exactly what I mean by saying that good randomization is very important, otherwise people can see patterns under some conditions.

Yeah, I did my best there. I can send you the 3dsmax file and you can try out some different orientations of the cards. I suspect making them too dense is going to get very very noisy with alpha tested cards. 
 

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A small thing is the naming convention of the “Med” “Small” “Tiny” and then Patch “1”,”2”,”3” actually confused me a bit when first testing the assets. I assumed the ones labeled small/tiny would be the loose tufts you could spread around and the ones labeled patch would be the larger areas of grass but it is actually the other way around. This confusion only lasts as long as placing a couple assets though.

On the gameplay side any plans for the denser area grass to have something like a configurable light gem modifier when the player is crouched in them?

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Looks as wonderful as it gets! I take it we're using particles that don't face the camera, which is the best approach considering they're the least performance intensive option. Only issue I remember with particle grass was particles not respond to lighting accordingly... one of the videos shows a guard with a lamp though, the grass lights up properly so I take it that's been solved as well :)

Only extra feature I'd say is needed would be a system to use patch terrain as the emission source. I take it that doesn't work yet and you can't get a particle distribution like the seed brush / entity... or does it? If not they'll have to be placed on flat terrain, or each entity aligned to bumps and holes in the ground manually.

Edited by MirceaKitsune
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